Cultural trip at Göteborg Energi

With the help of YesP, Göteborg Energi has developed its organisational culture with great results. HR Director Arto Pikäniemi describes the journey here.

Göteborg Energi has for some years invested in developing its culture. YesP has been a partner in this work by strengthening and unifying the leadership of the more than 90 leaders in the organisation. Client and main responsible has been HR director Arto Pitkäniemi.

Interview with Arto Pitkäniemi, HR Director at Göteborg Energi.

1. You have been working in a focused and purposeful way to develop the culture at Göteborg Energi for some years. How did you start and why?

We felt that we were fragmented and had some managers who were a little insecure and
perhaps alone. We saw great potential in a more unified culture with confident, courageous and driven leaders who want to develop the organisation and unlock the commitment of our people.

We wanted to increase our competitiveness, strengthen our attractiveness as an employer, come up with new ways of
closer to customers and accelerate the pace of innovation and change.

2. What is the difference in culture today compared to 2-3 years ago?

A lot has happened. A few examples:

  • We are clearly more attractive as an employer with many more applicants and we are climbing in university surveys. We do not compare ourselves with municipal companies but learn from larger private companies.
  • Our managers interact more. They ask each other, dare to open up, ask for help and challenge each other.
  • The drive is out there in the organisation. Things happen all the time, without us in the group management knowing about it, and employees do things without managers always being in control.
  • Decisions are not taken upwards in the organisation to the same extent as before.
  • There is a positive spirit with a lot of appreciation. We have more fun at work and pride has increased.
  • We have more external focus and less internal focus. We influence the outside world more and get involved earlier in important issues, such as urban development.

3. Which of these changes are you most proud of?

That managers are so much more confident in their leadership role. And proud. All our managers can take on the role of ambassador and talk about and for Göteborg Energi.

4. What has been the impact of these developments?

We are performing very well, with all our targets moving in the right direction. Our employee survey measuring engagement and attractiveness has moved to a stable level of close to 80 from 73 a few years ago (in 2013 we were at 50).

5. What has been most important in achieving this success? What have you done?

There have been many things, but probably the most important has been:

  • The CEO has been a role model in his leadership.
  • We created movement among managers and brought in good managers.
  • We meet regularly with all managers to discuss leadership development and create a sense of belonging and security.
  • We have invested in developing leadership, making it calm and quiet, with plenty of time to build consensus and listen to our leaders. Persistent and long-term.
  • We took external help from YesP, which was an absolute success factor. They have done a great job and have always been relevant and linked everything we have done to our important issues. We took help early on and YesP was with us in the needs analysis and in the design of layout and content. Throughout the journey, we made continuous adjustments and developed our approach. We believe we can, but YesP always knows a little more and gives us perspective.
  • Structural changes in the organisation that support our approaches. E.g. flatter organisation.

6. If you were to give advice to someone who wants to develop an attractive high performance culture, what would that advice be?

Ask someone else to describe your environment and culture (you don't see it yourself). Fresh eyes and other perspectives are needed. Take time to clarify what you want and don't rush into a solution. Top management must be involved and be good role models.